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About Daniel Rodriquez
American operatic tenor and former police officer Daniel Rodriguez first rose to national attention following his 2001 appearance singing "The Star Spangled Banner" at a memorial service following the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York's World Trade Center. At the time a classically trained amateur singer and full-time member of the New York Police Department who was on duty during the attacks, Rodriguez quickly became known as "The Singing Policeman," and after earning a contract with EMI, issued his first album at the end of 2001. In subsequent years he was able to parlay his initial success into a full-time career as an internationally recognized singer, retiring from the NYPD in 2005 and performing with a number of major orchestras and opera companies. While early albums like God Bless America (2001) and Spirit of America (2002) were more overtly patriotic, Rodriguez went on to establish himself with a wide variety of music including opera, a Spanish-language album (2013's Por Ti Volare) and even a holiday collection in 2014's A Glorious Christmas.
Born in Brooklyn to Puerto Rican immigrants, Rodriguez grew up listening to Mario Lanza, and even studied voice for a time with some of the same coaches Lanza used. But Rodriguez was forced to abandon his dream of a career in music when the reality of supporting his young family finally outweighed his ambition to become an artist. In 1995, Daniel Rodriguez joined the New York City Police Department, which has a policy of not ignoring the extracurricular talents of their officers. The NYPD maintains a small staff of "singing" police officers to perform at city functions as a matter of routine. Rodriguez soon joined this elite force.
He was on duty when the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center collapsed in the wake of the terrorist attacks in New York on September 11, 2001. He was engaged to sing "The Star Spangled Banner" at a memorial service for the victims of the attack held at Yankee Stadium a short time later. In Rodriguez's case, it was a case of being in the right place at the right time as legendary tenor and impresario Placido Domingo was in attendance. Domingo was impressed by Rodriguez' performance and granted an audition to the aspiring police officer/tenor. The result of the audition was that Rodriguez was granted a three-month leave of absence to retrain his voice with the Washington Opera, where Domingo was serving as musical director. EMI was quick to offer Rodriguez a recording contract, and his debut CD, God Bless America, made its bow in December of 2001. His newfound celebrity as "the singing policeman" also manifested itself in a string of talk show appearances including The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show, and Late Night with David Letterman.
Rodriguez has been quoted as saying "Watching the Twin Towers collapse didn't make me sing any better. But the passion for the music has changed and for what I represent: The comfort and the feeling of national pride that I bring now more than I did before." That sort of attitude carried over into the next year, when he pulled together several of his favorite collaborators and released the similar Spirit of America. With his increasing demand as a performer and the release of a third album in 2003's From My Heart, Rodriguez elected to retire from the NYPD in 2004 and pursue a singing career full-time.
While an early facet of his career involved singing the National Anthem and "God Bless America" at major sporting events like the 2002 Winter Olympics and the 2003 Indianapolis 500, his appearances with major American orchestras, including the Boston Pops Orchestra and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, became more regular. Meanwhile, subsequent albums like 2005's In the Presence and 2008's I Believe continued to expand Rodriguez's repertoire as did his operatic debut in June 2006 playing the role of Canio in Ruggero Leoncavallo's Pagliacci. Beginning in 2009, he embarked on a major American tour that spanned 117 cities. Moving into the 2010s, Rodriguez offered both a new album in 2011's Amazing Grace and his first appearance as a member of the New York Tenors, with whom he performed a sold-out Christmas show at Carnegie Hall in 2012. 2013's Spanish-langauge album, Por Ti Volare, honored his Latin heritage while 2014's A Glorious Christmas marked his first holiday LP. In addition to his international touring schedule, Rodriguez is also known for his philanthropic work, appearing at numerous charity events benefitting everything from cancer research to veterans' causes and police and firefighter events. ~ Timothy Monger & Uncle Dave Lewis, Rovi
- Brooklyn, NY
- 24 May 1964
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